INEC Says ACN, CPC, others cannot register APC

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The controversy over whether the proposed merger of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), the All Nigeria Peoples’ Party (ANPP) and a faction of the All Progressives’ Grand Alliance (APGA) can use the name All Progressives Congress (APC) has reignited with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) stopping them from using that acronym.

According to a letter written by the electoral body to the officials of the APC on April 23, 2013, INEC informed them of the existence of another party, the African Progressives Congress which also goes by the acronym APC, and thus advised them to effect a change of name.

A similar letter was sent to the lawyers of the All Progressives Congress, though the commission did not make any reference to ongoing court action by the African People’s Congress, challenging its non-registration by INEC.

The African People’s Congress had also initiated a counter move to have INEC reject the application of the All Progressives Congress, which is expected to be submitted after all the merging parties had concluded their conventions.

It had sent in a one-page letter by its lawyer, Awa Kalu, addressed to the INEC chairman, dated April 26 and received same day by INEC, reminding the electoral body of the pendency of the legal action seeking to upturn the decision of INEC not to register the African People’s Congress, in a suit No FHC/ABJ/CS/224/13 between Chief Ikeagwuonu and 29 ors vs INEC.

The African People’s Congress, a political association seeking registration, had been denied registration by INEC in February on the grounds that their application did not contain the address of its national officers, an action the party had countered as untrue, stating that INEC was on a deliberate mission to stop it.

Section 79 of the Electoral Act gives a political association, whose application for party registration is rejected, 30 days within which to seek judicial review of the decision, a provision the African People’s Congress had already exploited, with its pending litigation at the Federal High Court, Abuja, seeking judicial review of the decision of INEC.

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